Thursday, July 31, 2008

Onda Show Opens At Last

Crowd at Onda (I could hardly get into the room where my work was showing...)

I've rarely seen such a crowd as the one that descended on Alberta St. tonight for the Last Thursday Art Walk. I hadn't been for awhile, and what a scene! Luckily many friends braved the crowd to come see the show at Onda. I had a great time and am looking forward to the gallery talk Bonnie Meltzer and I will give on August 16.

Bonnie's work and mine complemented each other extremely well, and I was delighted to meet this artist who does such unique work and is the driving force behind Portland Open Studios.

I was able to take a few pictures and a few of those turned out, so here they are:

The street is closed off for the evening and you can hardly walk down the sidewalk which is lined with art viewers and street artists

A view of some of my work

One of my favorite pieces of Bonnie's is this bowl

Bonnie is on the left, in front of my Six Wives of Henry VIII

Me grinning broadly in front of two sold pieces

Pablo and Allan, the brains behind Onda

Just for fun, a picture of my first show at Onda in 2001

I have just a few copies of my book left before I order more--let me know if you want one! Thanks to Pablo and Allan and all my friends who turned out tonight and those who will see the show later!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Which I Teach and Get Ready for my Show (Sleep, What's That?)

"Not Just a Pretty Face" Workshop

Sunday I met with two brave women ready to learn how to paint faces, which I always say, is learning how to see. The students chose from an array of faces, most by well known artists. They each did two studies and one or two portraits on canvas. They did great at rendering their own versions of masterworks by Matisse, Cezanne, Berthe Morisot, Lavinia Fontana, an ancient Greek encaustic artist, and Sofonisba Anguissola. By copying accomplished painters we start to learn how to see in a different way and how to use paint to create the illusion of a face.

Hilary starts her version of Lavinia Fontana's painting. All the faces done today used a blue or green undercoat before adding the various flesh lights and darks. This gives the portraits a lot of depth and interest.

Hillary boldly started with this study of Matisse's portrait of his wife. Critics were shocked at the time by his colors, especially the green stripe on the nose. When the paintings, both Matisse's and Hillary's are viewed from a distance, Matisse's choices make sense--at least to modern eyes!

Suzanne's first study was Cezanne's portrait of his son. She captured the influence of Japanese art on Cezanne in this simple, eloquent, and touching portrait.

Suzanne's second study was of a Madonna. I don't remember the name of the artist, but I think Suzanne's version has more character than the original. Both Suzanne and Hillary seemed to see into the heart of their portrait subjects. Suzanne said she was worried about trying to paint eyes, but she did wonderfully here.

Hillary's second study was of a portrait by Lavinia Fontana. She did a fantastic job on the hair and skin and she captured the weary expression of the sitter.

For her canvas piece, Hillary chose a Greek encaustic painting of a woman. The original was very expressive and Hillary's is also! She enjoyed painting the wrinkles and incising the lines in the hair with the end of a small brush.

Suzanne chose a small canvas and a portrait Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot did of her sister. Suzanne caught the wistfulness of the sister who had chosen marriage over painting, unlike Berthe. The transparent brown Suzanne used for the hair just glows in the daylight.

Here's the gallery of faces we arranged at the end of the day. On the top right is the beginning of another work on canvas by Hillary, from a painting by Renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola.

Thanks to my two wonderful students for plunging in and painting your first portraits! Great job!!

Women, Creativity, and Healing Class at PSU: Goddesses and Superheras

No, the above isn't a typo. In creating their own goddesses or superheroes, students in my class went along with my suggestion that we use the feminist term, "hera" instead of hero, which suggests a man, or heroine which is kind of like "heroette." The students and I used the chalkboard to make quick sketches of our goddesses and heras who are personal icons we can use to encourage us and are also heroic versions of ourselves.

This hera is like an Amazon warrior who protects her creator from harm.

A lovely pregnant, glamorous tango goddess.

This superhera can fly and supports freedom.

A goddess pregnant and caring for the world.

The students asked me to do a drawing. This is my muse. She has a long cigarette holder with a healthy, non toxic cigarette. (It's my fantasy, ok?) She says, "You must live for your art, cherie."

Ready for the Onda Show

Here's my living room before I packed up my work to deliver to Onda for the July 31 opening. My partner, who's working out of state until Saturday said these photos remind her of a Cohen Brothers movie. I'm not sure why...but not a bad thing. For fellow Cohen fans, "The Dude Abides."

A couple of encaustic pieces

The blurriness of this photo reflects my state of mind about now. But all I have to do from now on is show up on Thursday for the opening and August 16th for the artists' talk. I can do that!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Mostly I've just been painting. Here are a couple for my upcoming show.

Il Prezzo di Liberta

El Coste de Libertad

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sometimes Believing Means Not Seeing

I am not who you think I am...

The cryptic title of this post refers to a lesson I just received--sometimes we see what we want to see and not what is really there.

In a recent post I wrote about the black cat who has adopted us. We were enchanted by this sweet little girl and named her "Violetta." I had been planning to take her to the vet to make sure she did not have an identity chip implanted, and to see if she was or was not pregnant. Yesterday I was leaving the house on the way to a meeting. A woman was standing in front of the house, with a baby in a stroller. Violetta was rubbing against her. She said to me, "I see you've adopted our cat." I was amazed as no one had reported this cat missing anywhere we checked. She then amazed me further by saying, "He ran away a while ago." "H-H-He?," I stammered. She said he was indeed a neutered male and he answers to the name of Lester. Lester??!! She said he has always been a "girly boy" and that she and her husband had often joked that they had a gay cat.

I struggled to wrap my mind around this new information. I asked if she was sure this was her cat. She said yes, she called his name and he came running. I could see that he seemed to know her. She said they knew he was hanging out here and had taken him home once (they live several blocks away.) "He ate and came back to your house." She said it is okay with her if he stays here. He isn't allowed to go in their house where there are several other cats and some racoons (? I didn't quite get that last part...) He's had all his shots so all he needs is a license. Wow.

I told her we could have an open adoption and she could come by and see him anytime. She agreed and we had a good laugh over the mistaken identity of the cat.

Did my feelings toward the cat change? At first. Why? It's the same cat. Now that I know he does seem like a girly boy instead of a girl. Why is this? Why should I care since he's fixed? Interesting questions to ponder. Why did we decide he was a she? No testicles for one, visible teats for another. Just as easily could have been an altered male which in fact, was the case. Guess this is a lesson to shatter stereotypes and accept what is.

We decided that Violetta could be his drag name. Just to humor me. he let me illustrate him in his finery.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Down to the Wire.

The Meeting Acrylic Diptych on Canvas

Thanks to everyone who gave me such support for having published my book. Of course I was thrilled to get my proof copy in the mail last week. The pictures looked good and so did the layout. Unfortunately some bloopers had passed by me and so I needed to revise the book and republish it. I was eager to do this right away so I would have time to order copies for my show at Onda Gallery, opening July 31.

Imagine the frustration when I found myself unable to connect to the internet! I got my book revised and was ready to go, but no connection. I tried everything I could think of, but no dice. I called my partner who is working in Colorado for a few weeks and tried everything she could think of. No success.

I observed my frenzy of frustration while I was in it. How had I become so dependent on this internet thing? For most of my life such a concept as the internet was nonexistent. But I wanted it and wanted it now. Finally my son came up with the solution. My old firewall had decided the internet was the enemy and was protecting me. Once I got rid of that firewall (somehow I had acquired another, so that was part of it), the problem vanished. The new version of the book is now online and some copies will be available at the Onda show. The painting shown at the top of this post will be in the book and the show.

Of course this made me think of how our old defenses, like firewalls, may act on faulty ideas of what is dangerous to us. I noticed this as I was preparing my book. I was thrilled about doing it, but an old "firewall" in my brain warned me that I was being a bit conceited, who did I think I was, etc. Not so easy to delete that kind of program but I was able to override it. I'm sure at one time that "firewall" kept me from trying things I might regret, but it has outlived its function. Life is short, and internet publishing is fun. Let's all put ourselves out there!

Also showing at Onda starting on July 31 will be artist Bonnie Meltzer. She creates "Very Mixed Media Art" and will be using computer parts for the pieces she'll show at Onda. I can't wait to see them! The photo below uses different media but shows how colorful, vibrant, and original her work is. Look for more of her work on the web ( I still can't make links by myself, but she's very googlable.)

Bequest by Bonnie Meltzer

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Aaaaah, I did it--it's published!

I can't believe I pushed the publish button, but I finally did it! Announcing my new book, published by! I have been wanting to make a book of some of my art pieces and the stories behind them for quite a while. After I saw the book Nancy Natale of New England Wax published about the bi-coastal Diptych Project, I decided blurb would be the online publisher for me, at least this time around.

Here it is!

Compiling the pictures and writing the text was fun. Revising at the behest of my local editor was also pretty fun. Checking for typos, correct page ##, spelling, etc. was not as much fun. But the button is pushed! The book is ready. Here's the link, if you'd like a preview.

I'll have hard and soft cover books available at my Onda Gallery opening July 31. Can't wait to get my copy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Mind Your Own Beeswax" Workshop last Sunday

We had seven participants at Sunday's encaustic workshop, "Mind Your Own Beeswax." We met at Julia Gardner's studio at Troy Studios. Thanks so much to Julia for lending her studio!

Left, Bridget chooses colors, Tristen affixes collage, Nell dips a paper image in wax prior to collaging. Julia is in the background.

Here's one of Janene's encaustic collages, in progress and finished. I love how she jumbled the number images up in the finished piece and deepened the color with encaustic glazes. And, ooh-la, la, there's the Tour d' Eiffel, from my fabulous French find.

Encaustic is notoriously difficult to photograph especially in poor light. Below is just an idea of Bridget's rich piece. She experimented with some rich gray, green, and blue glazes, layering with clear glaze in between in layer of encaustic paint. She decided the result was too opaque, so she pushed some of the wax back with a heat gun, leaving translucent places that added interest and subtlety to the piece.

The equipment we used included: one electric frypan, an electric griddle, an embossing gun, a propane torch, lots of scrapers, incising tools, beeswax, damar resin, cat food tins, and brushes. For supports we used Claybord panels and wood panels. Oh yes, and nail polish remover for photo transfers. The variety of work that come from these basic tools was amazing!

Here's one of Tristen's beautiful golden encaustic collages. (Everyone at the workshop was especially interested in learning about using collage with encaustic medium and techniques.) Tristen used lots of clear layers with her painted ones, and used scraping at the end to reveal earlier layers.

Nell used delicate and careful incising techniques to create the freeform design at the bottom of this gorgeous piece.

She incised the spiral and X lines, then painted them over with white encaustic paint. She then slowly scraped off the white paint, which remained only in the incised areas.

Nell uses a pottery tool to scrape back some of the wax on her piece in progress, before adding new elements.

Laura's delicate and graceful encaustic collage. She used the scraping technique to reveal layers, creating a feeling of mystery. This piece includes laser photo transfers.

Karen Joy torches away on this complex and fascinating piece. Here she's using the torch to reveal earlier layers of clear encaustic, creating a kind of halo around her collage image.

Thanks to all the participants for Minding Your Beeswax!